EPISODE 19
Fascinate Us With Your Resume Summary Statement
EPISODE 19
Fascinate Us With Your Resume Summary Statement

FASCINATE US WITH YOUR RESUME SUMMARY STATEMENT

About this episode

In this episode, we are focused on the ever-divisive question of the importance of certifications in the cybersecurity industry. The answer to this question has changed over time from certifications being unimportant, to them being extremely important, to well, it depends.

 

Certifications can be extremely important for several reasons, including their ability to help your resume get through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) filters used by the human resources and recruiting team, but they are not a silver bullet that will instantly land you a job.

 

As Jason Dion (Lead Instructor of Dion Training) shares with us in this episode, certifications can be your ticket to getting an interview, but they alone won’t get you the position. That said, without having that certification on your resume, you can easily be filtered out of consideration before a hiring manager even gets a chance to look over your resume. This makes having the right certifications and experience imperative if you want to land your dream cybersecurity position.

 

Just as a certification isn’t a substitute for a college degree, you will also learn that a college degree is not a substitution for having the right certifications. This is often not an “either-or” thing, but a “yes-and” type of thing that you must achieve for many cybersecurity positions.

 

What you’ll learn

  • Why certifications are important in the cybersecurity industry?
  • Are certifications or experience more important to a hiring manager?
  • Are certifications or college degrees more important to a hiring manager?
  • Which certifications should you be getting to advance in your career?
 

Relevant websites for this episode

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Episode Transcript

Kip Boyle: 

Hi everyone. This is your Cyber Path. This is the podcast that helps you get your dream cybersecurity job. I’m Kip Boyle and I’m an experienced hiring manager of cybersecurity professionals. Hey, we want your feedback on the show. You should give it to us. So all you need to do is go to the show page, anchor.fm/yourcyberpath. Pitch me a question or make a comment and all you have to do is hit that webpage, click on the message button and just start talking and we’ll get it. So before we go in today, today’s topic, which by the way, is designed to help you fascinate a hiring manager with your Resume’s summary statement. I want to share two important decisions with you that we’ve made about the podcast and how they, how those decisions are going to affect you. So the first one is, this is a fantastic decision. I think I’m super happy about it. I think you will be too, but my guest on the two previous episodes West Shriner is now Co-Host of this podcast. So welcome a board West.

West Shriner: 

What, what is that happening for real?

Kip Boyle: 

For real, for real it’s you and me, and we’re going to, we’re going to drive this podcast to amazing places.

West Shriner: 

Outstanding. It’s going to be fun.

Kip Boyle: 

So thanks West for being here. Why don’t you since your Co-Host now, why don’t you tell everybody about the other decision?

West Shriner: 

Well, the other decision we made is we’re going to go to a every other week format.

Kip Boyle: 

Yep.

West Shriner: 

We’re dads of a lot of kids. We’ve got a lot of responsibilities. Hey, I’m the farm this week? The, the peacocks, I’m sorry, the P hens late eggs. Right? And that happens. That’s an annual event. We got seven eggs out of our P hen this year.

Kip Boyle:

Is that a high water or a high, a high count of eggs?

West Shriner: 

Oh, it’s about all you get and we’re really excited about it. Because 30 days from now we will be seeing some, some baby P chicks and, and that’ll be a lot of fun.

Kip Boyle: 

So ladies and gentlemen in the audience, I don’t know if we’ve mentioned it before, but Co-Host Wes lives on a farm. And so I have been hearing the most amazing stories about farm life and, and they’re amazing because why? Well, because Kip lives in Suburbia and it’s not nearly as exciting.

West Shriner: 

Oh, so all the metaphors you’ve heard about farms that you bring into the business space, those are real. We’ll get a chance to touch on those. I’m sure, along the way.

Kip Boyle: 

[inaudible] I do want to call out. That’s one of my favorites.

West Shriner: 

I want to call out that with the farm and, and the kids and life and work we’re going to, we’re going to be doing this every other week. Want to set an expectation that it will be every other Friday and that’s designed so that give you great content on a, on a consistent basis.

Kip Boyle: 

Absolutely. Which is why I listen to podcasts, great content on a regular basis. So that’s, that’s what we’re trying to do. Dear listeners. So, all right. Thanks Wes. So let’s get on with the show. So today in this episode, we want to focus on the summary statement at the top of your Resume. Now, last week we talked about the, the, the, the resume in total, but you know, we really want to drill in now with the summary statement, because that, that part of your resume plays a very important function. Now your Resume in total does some really important things for you. It gets you through the applicant tracking system, right? Which is going to analyze for keywords. It’s designed to get you invited to a conversation with a recruiter, designed to get you invited to a conversation with a Hiring Manager. And when you finally get in front of the Hiring Manager, it should be a wonderful springboard to launch into a fantastic conversation and start your relationship right. It’s the summary statement that does the heavy lifting that really makes the resume able to do this stuff.

West Shriner: 

You’re Right Kip. We talked about that as being our Executive Summary. If I hire someone, this is, this paragraph is how you’re probably going to be talking with my boss. And this tells me if I can trust you to talk to Executives or not. I think your keywords, if I were to give you anything and you can drop the podcast at this point is be brief, be brilliant, be gone, right? If you can be brief, be brilliant, be gone. You are good. If, if you want to help with figuring out how to do that, that’s what the rest of the story’s about.

Kip Boyle:

There you go. So if you think you’ve already got that wired stop now and go listen to a podcast that’s really fun and interesting, but okay. So those people are, they gone? All right. So everybody else who stayed let’s drill in, right? How can you be brief brilliant and gone?

West Shriner: 

That Summary Statement is the only part you can guarantee to have been read by a Hiring Manager.

Kip Boyle: 

Geez, that’s oh, that’s serious

West Shriner: 

Keep it purposeful and answer questions right away. My big questions that I’m, I’m trying to answer about you, when I’m reading your Resume. What title have they had or see themselves as, what experience do they point to, to justify that title and, what do they want in their next step? Right. If I can answer those three questions in your Summary, you’ve met my needs.

Kip Boyle: 

Okay. So ladies and gentlemen, Wes has just laid it out. And I absolutely agree with him because remember, we said that assuming that your Resume even lands in the pile that we’re going to scan, what is it? 30, 45 seconds per Resume, perhaps. I mean, you just don’t have a lot of time to hook us. This is a great way for you to hook us. Okay? So now you know what to do, but hey Wes, let’s begin by talking about what not to do. Okay. Cause we’ve seen some pretty, pretty egregious things. Yeah?

West Shriner: 

I’ve been going through Resumes recently and I came across one that was pretty special. It begins with a rare combination of broad knowledge, varied skills, accomplishments, and experience that makes a standout in guiding improvement, in information security, assessing and mitigating risks and helping assure business continuity when breaches and exploits occur. That was the first sentence. This was a 14 line. That was a 14 line summary with 128 words. There were six sentences, but actually two of them were not complete. It goes on to highlight every skill they have ever practiced. And I still don’t know what they want to do for a job.

Kip Boyle: 

Oh no. I feel bad for this person.

West Shriner: 

Somebody needs some podcast. That’s what I’m saying. So do not start by telling me how rare you are, right. I’m sure you’re special. Do, do not hit me with a death star level attack of skills and abilities. And most importantly, don’t forget to tell me what you’re looking for, please.

Kip Boyle: 

Well, and that’s, that’s really important too, right? Because as Hiring Managers, we are expecting that when you land on our team, you’re going to grow, right. We want you to grow. So tell us how you want to grow. Right?

West Shriner: 

Indeed. So let’s take that in order. Now that I think that a healthy Summary Statement is going to have three specific features to it. Let’s take those in order and see what we can do. Right? The first one is, is name the title that you are, or you aspire to be right? The more specific, the better, if it exactly matches the role you’re applying for that’s even better, right? Some good titles might be Growing Security and Privacy Analyst, Cyber Security Leader, Security Incident Response Engineer. Right? And as a sentence you might say, I am a trained Security Analyst with a strong background in Business Operations. You might say, strong IT Help Desk [inaudible]. Strong IT Help Desk Technician looking for deeper role in Security Vulnerability Management. Like, can you hear how those sound very Security focused?

Kip Boyle: 

Definitely.

West Shriner: 

So we’ve got a lot of career transition folks, right? The folks who are coming from the, you’ve had a full career as a Sous Chef at a great restaurant. And you do Business Operations well. Do not put Sous Chef looking to change jobs.

Kip Boyle: 

Well, but that’s, that’s very succinct, right? I mean, it wins that awards on conciseness,

West Shriner:

But that is not highlighting what you’re looking for and where you’re going. Instead, you might want to say, use that growing Security and Privacy Analyst in your, in your description, right? Train Security Analyst with a strong background in Business Operations. We’ll, we’ll cover that you’ve got the, the, the Chef background and the Management of People and Business Operations. Those are all transferable skills that are going to come in handy. But, but let’s not make that the first line of your Resume, let’s set you up for success by having the title of the job or something really close to it. That, that you’re highlighting in that first line of your resume.

Kip Boyle: 

Yeah the, the, this whole [inaudible]. If I had seen Sous Chef looking to change jobs, I would feel like, like they were looking for me to do a lot of the heavy lifting. You know what I mean? Like it they’re, they’re not putting enough of themselves into what they just said. You know?

West Shriner: 

Well, those Job Searchers are putting all of their heart and soul into this because they are hungry. Right. And so I, I, I don’t want to discount that at all, but I, I think this is a case of, dress for the job you want. Right. Dress for the job you want with the title that you want. Don’t go in there looking like a college student. If you want a Professional job

Kip Boyle: 

Or don’t come dressed in your Sous Chef outfit. Right.

West Shriner: 

There you go, exactly.

Kip Boyle: 

Okay. So, that’s some really great guidance on the title. Okay. So now we’ve got that figured out, right?

West Shriner:

First sentence done.

Kip Boyle: 

Yeah. It’s a title. It it’s a sentence. And it’s got some, some motion in it, right? Maybe like I’m, I’m growing or I’m looking or something like that.

West Shriner: 

Okay. It has some movement.

Kip Boyle: 

Let’s go on to the next thing.

West Shriner: 

So now we get to talk about your history, the justification, the reason why you deserve that title. Remember this is your Summary Statement. You’ve got a whole document behind you explaining why you, why you deserve it. But this is Executive Summary. So you get about one sentence per decade of experience.

Kip Boyle: 

That’s just not enough, dude. One sentence per decade just seems like

West Shriner:

That is exactly what you get. You get one sentence per decade. And, and again, I am not every Hiring manager and I am not every Recruiter, we’ve talked about having two separate Resumes, one for the machine learner and one for the, human readable. I think that may be a case here where, where those keywords go in the machine reader, but the human needs to be able to read this in a sentence per decade. Right?

Kip Boyle:

You know, I know you’re right. I know you’re right, Wes. It’s just that’s, wow. Okay, keep going.

West Shriner: 

So for that person who’s a trained Security Analyst with a strong background in Business Operations. Their next sentence might be, I focused my training on Digital Forensics and Application Security Assessments. Right. That would be a very, I did the training and this is the areas I’ve done my training, right? For the person who comes from the help desk, who said, they’re looking for a deep role in Security Vulnerability Management, I’ve supported every aspect, endpoint detection and response, and helped identify and remove indicators of compromise. You just used vocabulary that told me, you understand my business from the chair you were in. I’m interested in learning more about you.

Kip Boyle:

Mm, great, great. Okay. And so

West Shriner: 

You should watch out, those are going to be interview questions, right? The moment you say my training on Digital Forensics, my training on App Sec, my training on endpoint detection and response, you’re now on the hook. Make sure you can back that up when you get to the conversation, some other keywords that you could put in there, right? Because, it doesn’t have to be those phrases. You can use the, I’ve seen some of that say, red teaming and lead my local gray hat chapter, or identity proofing and PKI Certificate Infrastructure. I had one person who didn’t go necessarily into categories that went into a, a, a prototype that they built and said, I built a low power prototype water flow meter IOT device that was taken into production and deployed all over the city. Right.

Kip Boyle: 

Wow.

West Shriner:

I thought that was phenomenal. That person who is just coming out of school says I’m a learner and a growing Security Analyst and then says, but I did something really cool and I want to tell you about it in one sentence.

Kip Boyle: 

And it’s so relevant to our world.

West Shriner: 

Yeah.

Kip Boyle: 

So relevant.

West Shriner: 

The more seasoned Security Professional might put, I have 10 years experience in, in the, in the security space, in this part of security or in these industries, because every industry has its own expectations and its own dialect of English, right?

Kip Boyle: 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

West Shriner: 

It’s own vernacular. And so we very much

Kip Boyle: 

Experienced with AWS Security or something like that, right?

West Shriner: 

Then that would make a lot of sense. Your highlighting and justifying why you claim that title above in one sentence.

Kip Boyle: 

Yeah. I think that makes a ton of sense. Okay. All right. So we’ve written two sentences and now there’s only one left. Look at that. Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s actually pretty easy.

West Shriner: 

So close out with telling me, what do you want to do next? Right. I’m looking for an opportunity to grow my skills with a company in roles, emphasizing, blah. Right. And that’s your blog. Not mine. You need to figure out what you want to put there based on what you want to be next. Right? Yeah. You probably want to make sure it matches the job description. Make sure we’re all going the same direction. Right? Congruence Theory says you better line up.

Kip Boyle: 

Congruence Theory. I bet you’ve been looking for a, a chance to use that for a while.

West Shriner: 

I’m using my, I’m in business school right now. So I’m learning my, my, the other side of the…

Kip Boyle: 

So you’re doing homework while we’re recording the podcast. Brilliant.

West Shriner:

You bet.

Kip Boyle:

Just brilliant.

West Shriner: 

You bet. I’ll be showing my professor this podcast. So as to make my points,

Kip Boyle: 

You’ve applied knowledge, Wes you got it.

West Shriner: 

Okay. So our are a person who is a, or are a Sous Chef, right? Maybe their summary starts going, I’m a trained Security Analyst with a strong background in Business Ops. I focus my training on Digital Forensics and Apsec, and then that third sentence might be, I’m looking for a company I can grow my security skills with for many years to come.

Kip Boyle: 

Mm, nice. That’s A nice disclosure.

West Shriner: 

Did we give ourselves a nice little package that says I come from here, I’m doing these things and I want to go there.

Kip Boyle: 

Yeah. Right. Well, that’s super articulate.

West Shriner: 

You can also use this sentence to clarify some specific needs that you’re looking for in your search. Right. We have some stuff in our life where, we must stay in Washington state. That is we’re actually a foster family. And so part of being a foster family is we’re licensed by the state of Washington and we can’t continue that license if we move somewhere else. And so we’re going to stay in the state. That’s one of the criteria I’m looking for. So it might be that our Help Desk Technician has the same constraints. So let’s say that strong IT Help Desk Technician looking for a deep role in Security Vulnerability Management has supported every aspect of endpoint detection and response and helped identify and remove indicators of compromise, might end with, I’m looking for my next full-time opportunity in the greater Seattle area to grow myself and my company. Right.

Kip Boyle: 

Perfect. Yeah.

West Shriner: 

You’ve just got to bring that together with the constraints.

Kip Boyle: 

Yeah. So if I see that, then if I happen to have openings in other parts of the country, I’m not even going to burden them with, with that necessarily. Right. So

West Shriner: 

And that’s reasonable.

Kip Boyle: 

Yeah It’s totally reasonable as a Hiring Manager. I know what they want and I’m either going to offer them something that’s going to fit or not. You know, and I know some people sort of struggle with that. It’s like, well, I want to see all my opportunities. Like, do you really want to be tempted by something you’d never take?

West Shriner: 

There’s wisdom in that there really is. So, so now comes the hardest part. We did the three sentences, you’ve written your three sentences. They are beautiful magnificently crafted works of art. Are you done? Can you stop? Really? Can you stop? Right? Because if we say more, we need to have a reason why we would say anymore after this.

Kip Boyle: 

So when would they be justified to say more? I mean that, at this point, I’m thinking to myself, like, isn’t that enough? So when, when have you ever seen it make sense?

West Shriner: 

If you’ve got a second decade of experience, you can have a second sentence in the middle of, right. Okay. But the key here is be brief, be brilliant and be gone. Use your summary statement as an executive summary for how you’re talking to my boss when you are highlighting the most important things.

Kip Boyle: 

That’s great. Its great advice, love it. You know, when I, when I think about why Cyber Security job hunters struggle to craft a Summary Statement like this, there’s one thing in particular that really stands out. And one of the reasons why it comes into my mind is because I know I’ve struggled with it, but I’ve also talked to other people have struggled with it too. And you know, what we’re really doing is selling ourselves here. Right. And, I think that there’s a certain amount of stigma associated with being a Salesperson. And so I, I know in the past I was just like, oh my goodness.

West Shriner:

Don’t call it sales, don’t call it sales.

Kip Boyle:

I don’t want to.

West Shriner: 

This is your brand.

Kip Boyle:

I just couldn’t help myself. I just kept seeing used car Salesman in my brain. Right. Joe Isuzu probably, nobody remembers Joe Isuzu, but he was just a quintessential example. You go, listen, if you don’t know who Joe Isuzu is you should go on YouTube and look him up because that was a fantastic Advertising Campaign. Anyway. So yeah, but I think it’s, I think people are concerned about selling themselves or, or really they’re concerned about overselling themselves. Right? Because I’ve noticed that Cyber Security people are generally very humble, especially the really talented ones. And you don’t really see them bragging about what they can do or what they’ve done. And I think the other thing too, is that you remember when you were telling me like Kip, you get one sentence for every decade and I’m just like, it’s just not enough. I have done so much that you could benefit from. I’m trying to bring so much to the table and to only have one sentence, wow, that’s a real struggle.

But even if I had a talented copywriter do the work, and honestly, that, that might be what a person would need to do, right. Is just kind of like pay somebody to write this. If they’re just really struggling with it, because it could be the difference between getting a job and not getting a job. Right. So if I get a 100,000 dollars a year job, and I paid somebody a couple of 100 bucks to write my Summary Statement, that’s really a good trade, I think. But I know some people just grimous at the idea of somebody writing like a very promotional Summary Statement. So to be clear,

West Shriner:

So to be clear, We are not recommending any specific writer. We don’t, we’re not sponsored by anybody. This is just, just two guys having an Opinion.

Kip Boyle: 

That’s right. But, but I, I notice that people do sometimes struggle to, get help sometimes. And so I just want to encourage people that if you find the Summary Statement really difficult to do, go get some help, a friend, you don’t necessarily have to pay somebody. Right.

West Shriner: 

Right.

Kip Boyle: 

Just think of a friend who might be really good at this and, and ask them to get help. You know, another thing that you should do too, I think is Daniel Pink wrote a really great book that I read and it helped me work through this issue. And he’s written a number of books that I think were really helpful, but one in particular is called To Sell Is Human. And just to kind of summarize the whole book, it’s a great book. You should read it, but to summarize it, he says, Hey, we’re all in sales.

And one of the things he does to make the case is like, if you’ve ever ask somebody out on a date, or if you’re married, guess what? You did a fantastic sales job because you convinced somebody to spend time with you and they didn’t maybe necessarily know you very well. Right. So, so think about that. And the other thing he said in his book, which I think is really important is extroverts. And this is scientifically proven by the way, extroverts are not the most effective Salespeople. So if you’re thinking to yourself, well, I’m an introvert. So I can’t sell myself. Ah, not so fast. It may seem like extroverts are the most effective Salespeople, but they’re not, actually it’s ambiverts. Woo. Okay.

West Shriner: 

What is that Kip?

Kip Boyle:

I’m not going to try that again. So these are people that sort of sit on the spectrum between the extremes, right?

The extreme extroverts, the extreme introverts. So if you can just nudge yourself to the middle of that spectrum, that’s actually where the most effective Salespeople live. And, and, and here’s something that I really, really like is he says, it’s so much easier to sell something to someone when you know that if they buy it, they are going to improve their life and maybe even improve the world. And I love that because one of the reasons I’m in Cybersecurity is because I am trying to contribute to a bigger purpose. Right. I am trying to make the world safer, the internet safer for people to do things on Commerce and, and everything else that we do on the internet. So I love Daniel Pink’s perspective. This bottom line is like, don’t try to sell, just serve people. Right. So if you’re going to think about the S word here, don’t make it, the cell word, make it the serve word. I think that’s, I think that’s going to open up a lot more doors for you. And I

West Shriner: 

And I think you can do that in every part of life. It’s not just about work. If I choose to walk into a room and decide how I’m going to serve better, that that is the right approach to any room, whether it’s with my family or in the office.

Kip Boyle:

Yeah.

West Shriner:

If I walk in with a plan to, how can I make others better by being here, we’re going to be putting, we’re going to make our world better. And that is that’s worth living for.

Kip Boyle: 

Well, we want you to make your world better. Those of you in the audience, by getting the dream Cybersecurity job that you really want. And so we hope that by writing a really excellent Summary Statement on your Resume, you’re going to get the kind of opportunities that you, that we know that you want for yourself. Well, so listen. So back in April, we did a beta version of our Masterclass, which is called How To Get Your Dream Cybersecurity Job As Told By Hiring Managers. And that class went very, very well. And I was amazed because one of our students, we had 60 people in the class and one of our students actually got his dream Cybersecurity job before he even finished all the lessons we had about 23 lessons. And, and he told me all about it. It’s a really inspiring story. And if you want to hear about it, just go to this URL, go to yourcyberpath.com/steve.

And you can read about his story. Steve was an accountant. He is now has his dream Cybersecurity job, which I think is so totally cool. Okay. So that, wraps up the episode. Wes, did you want to put, did you want to say anything else before we wrap it?

West Shriner: 

My friends be brief, be brilliant and be gone.

Kip Boyle: 

Well, that’s also, Wes’ hint for me to get on with closing this episode out. So, Hey, next time we’re going to tell you about how your reputation is one of the biggest factors in, in the screening process and, and leaving your last job well, is a huge part of making sure that your reputation is intact. So we’re going to unpack that next time. So until you hear us again in two weeks, please remember your just one the way from your dream Cybersecurity job. See you next time.

West Shriner: 

Thanks all.

Headshot of Kip BoyleYOUR HOST:

Kip Boyle
Cyber Risk Opportunities

Kip Boyle serves as virtual chief information security officer for many customers, including a professional sports team and fast-growing FinTech and AdTech companies. Over the years, Kip has built teams by interviewing hundreds of cybersecurity professionals. And now, he’s sharing his insider’s perspective with you!

Headshot of Jason DionYOUR CO-HOST:

Jason Dion
Dion Training Solutions

Jason Dion is the lead instructor at Dion Training Solutions. Jason has been the Director of a Network and Security Operations Center and an Information Systems Officer for large organizations around the globe. He is an experienced hiring manager in the government and defense sectors.